Monday, December 30, 2013


So the Earth has completed another graceful orbit of the Sun, something like 940 million kilometres at 30 or so a second. Goodness knows how many it's done in its time, or how many more it's got in it. A fair few, I'd say, Around and around, bathing the poles in long stretches of daylight and darkness, and painting the rest of this earthly canvas in seasonal colour and rubbing it out with ferocious moments of weather. I don't know how many sunrises or sets you saw this year. I saw a few. The tick-tock of the biggest timepiece in the solar system….sigh.

As the planet spun its way around, plenty of us zipped about a bit too. I followed the journeys of friends, family, colleagues here and there…daily reminders of the incredible opportunities and experiences available to anyone with the means to take advantage of them. With a passport, ticket and 24 hours you can get yourself just about anywhere. A golden age, indeed.

The travels of my year took in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Port Douglas, Smiths Lake, Bali, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai (twice) and Singapore. Not a bad set of passport stamps at all. Happy with that.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Singapore's a curious place. A tiny island state with few natural resources, this financial leviathan is famous for its food, cleanliness, its order, safety, its zoo and, now, for a bundle of shiny new things like Marina Bay Sands, the Supertree Grove in the Gardens by The Bay, it even has a massive ferris wheel - an important attraction for any serious city these days.

I first visited in 2000 and really thought nothing of it. To be honest, at the time, it was probably the dullest place I'd ever seen. It was a flying visit. Literally a weekend. After a walk through Bugis Street, a Kodak moment by Raffles, a quick stop down by the waterfront to see the famed Merlion statue - the mythical beast with the body of a fish and the head of a lion - and a bite to eat (albeit a sensational one) at a hawker centre, by lunchtime we'd pretty much ticked off everything we thought worth seeing.

My experiences in other Asian cities had been different. Very different. In Hong Kong and Bangkok the gateways into the noise and nasty that's often waiting for you just below the surface are well lit. Welcome stranger…come on in and play.